LOCAL MSP Christine Grahame claims she's being left in the dark over plans for a replacement school in Peebles.

And the member for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale has resorted to Freedom of Information requests in a bid to get answers.

A row erupted last month between the Conservative-led administration at Scottish Borders Council and the SNP government at Holyrood over funding for a replacement school.

Claims by council leader Shona Haslam and education portfolio holder Carol Hamilton that the Scottish Government had rejected a plea for help was angrily refuted by both Ms Grahame and the Cabinet Secretary for Education, John Swinney.

It emerged that no formal request for financial assistance had been made to the Scottish Government ahead of the claims being made.

And it was several days later that Councillor Haslam eventually sent a letter - not in her role as council leader but as a ward councillor for Tweeddale East.

Details of funding for a replacement Peebles High have remained sketchy with £20 million being required to plug the gap between an expected £10 million insurance pay out and the estimated demolition and rebuild costs of around £30 million.

Over the past few weeks Christine Grahame's attempts for further clarification over funding from the council leader has been met with the cold shoulder.

Ms Grahame told us: "I have asked a number of follow-up questions to establish how plans for Peebles High would be progressing, however Councillor Haslam has now responded to say that she is not prepared to answer my questions.

"At the heart of this is the question of getting a proper replacement for Peebles High School that serves the school community properly.

"The issue should never have been made party political and I remain hugely frustrated that Councillor Haslam decided to issue a press release attacking the Scottish Government on February 11, apparently before any request was even made.

"How does trying to score cheap points against the SNP with a factually inaccurate press release serve the school community or indeed foster a co-operative approach between the council and the government?

"It is behaviour that, frankly, should be beneath a council leader."

Although Scottish Borders Council claim their decision to impose a record hike in council tax from next month is to help fund a new replacement school in Peebles, it is expected that money will still be required from Holyrood.

But government officials have yet to receive any request from Newtown St Boswells.

Ms Grahame added: "As I’m sure Councillor Haslam well knows, her letter of February 14, issued after she claimed the Scottish Government had refused funding, does not constitute a formal funding request, given the lack of any details.

"And I remain unclear why she’s written as a local ward councillor rather than in her role as leader of Scottish Borders Council.

"I have yet to see any correspondence that shows any formal request to the Scottish Government, let alone anything that constitutes it refusing funding, and Councillor Haslam is now refusing to share any further information.

"It is her complete refusal to engage with me on this matter which has led me to put in a formal FOI request to try to get to the bottom of what’s actually going on.

"This is causing a huge deal of concern in the school community and I, like them, simply want to know what is actually being done to support replacing the school, all politics aside.”

We did put all the points raised by Ms Grahame to Councillor Haslam.

She told us: "Public consultations are ongoing with parents and users of the school and we will be taking these plans forward with the Scottish Government in a constructive manner.”